Whether fairly or unfairly the world of mobile gaming has largely been looked down upon. Mobile games have no doubt taken over as the leaders of the gaming world even if they are largely consigned to being short experiences that dwell on money making aspects such as microtransactions. Yet, in such a crowded industry filled with generic, yet addicting, titles it seems that a new approach is being used with success — franchise spinoffs. ‘Stranger Things’ is one of the most revered television shows around and ahead of its second season the creators decided to drop something special for the fans, a spin-off mobile title aptly called ‘Stranger Things: The Game’. Mobile titles and spin-off twists don’t normally add up to success, but this is different.
‘Stranger Things: The Game’ exists in much the way that the Netflix TV series does: it is a shameless throwback to the ’80s that looks to feed off of your nostalgia while pumping you filled with remembered times. The game features retro graphics with a pixelated twist and it adheres to the old-school Nintendo-style RPG that we all grew so fond of. The title features a top-down aesthetic that hearkens back to the SNES and players are introduced to the whole of Hawkins, much like they were in the series.
The game starts you out as Chief Hooper and your goal is to explore the countryside and the city as you search for answers relating to the Hawkins Laboratory up on the hill and eventually the Upside Down. You get to play as iconic characters from the show and each member of the roster succeeds in being unique thanks to their personality and special weapon. From Lucas and his slingshot to Nancy and the baseball bat, fans of the show will be grinning ear to ear. Much like legendary RPGs, these weapons are also the way that characters interact with the environment that they are playing through.
The town of Hawkins is filled with NPCs that are familiar from the show. You’ll run into a few story elements from the ‘Stranger Things’ universe that make you smile. you control your character with the touchscreen and work your way through a variety of puzzles. Combat is easy to learn and quick to bully through and entire game celebrates your willingness to continue. Most of all, the game is completely free to play and free of microtransactions. ‘Stranger Things: The Game’ is a love letter to the fans, through and through.